An EIN is a nine-digit number the IRS uses to identify your company for tax purposes. Learn more about it with our new Remotepedia post.
Think of an EIN like a social security number for businesses: It’s a nine-digit number the IRS uses to identify your company for tax purposes. An EIN is the number you’ll use when you file taxes for your business. There are other uses as well, like opening bank accounts and acquiring permits.
A sample EIN: 12-3456789
The simplified version: If you hire employees or operate almost any kind of business in the United States, you need an EIN. But there are exceptions––so to be sure, here’s a list of things that will qualify you for an EIN. If you...
...then you’ll need an EIN. That’s the list from the IRS as of right now, but you can always check out the official website if you want to double-check.
The easiest way to get an EIN is by applying online. You can do this as long as you’re located in the United States or a United States territory, like Puerto Rico. You’ll get your EIN immediately after applying: The process is automated.
How to apply online: Head to the IRS site here and follow the directions.
If you don’t want to apply online (or can’t), here’s how to get an EIN.
Apply by fax. Fax is fading faster than a lit match, but you can still get your EIN this way. You’ll fax a completed form SS-4 to the IRS and they’ll get back to you within 4 business days. If you’re wondering where to fax it, you can find out here in just a few seconds.
Apply by mail. You’ll follow the same process as the fax. Fill out the form SS-4, then use this IRS document to figure out where to mail it. The IRS will get back to you within 4 weeks.
If you’re international, apply by telephone. This is how you get your EIN if your principal business (or residence, if you’re an individual) isn’t in the United States. Call 267-941-1099 between 6:00 and 21:00, Monday through Friday, to get your EIN.
When you call, make sure you’re authorized to receive the EIN (so, you’re not delegating it to a new intern), and that you’re ready to answer questions about form SS-4.
If you already have an EIN, you’re probably good––but if you change your organizational structure, you’ll have to get a new one. For example, if you’re a sole proprietor and you incorporate your business, you’ll need to get a new one.
Well, it’s nice to meet you: We’re Panther. We’ve got the answers about EINs and just about any other employment-related term because our day job is helping companies hire remotely, all across the globe.
We believe that the future of work is remote (and global). That’s a bit of a cliffhanger––so you can learn how to make it happen for your team here.